Senior Hong Kong trade officials meeting with US negotiators in Washington have failed in their bid to remove tough trade restrictions imposed on the territory's textiles industry. The Hong Kong team, led by Customs and Excise Commissioner Lawrence Li, Deputy-director General of Trade Rebecca Lai and Assistant Director-general of Trade for North America Stanley Ying, was hoping to make progress towards ending the multi-million dollar textiles row. Following a meeting with the US team led by Customs Service Deputy Commissioner Sam Banks, it was announced the controversial joint factory visit programme, initiated in September, would continue. The factory visits have been severely criticised by trade officials and textiles manufacturers in Hong Kong and led Governor Chris Patten to write to US President Bill Clinton about the issue, claiming the visits undermined the territory's autonomy. On top of the renewed factory visits, it was also announced representatives from the New York Strategic Trade Centre of US Customs would visit Hong Kong for discussions with officials of the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department and Trade Department. The Hong Kong team also failed in its bid to have certain clothing items removed from a 'watch list'. US Customs would continue to monitor the four-category list - cotton gloves, cotton knit shirts, women's cotton pants and cotton dressings. The watch list was introduced on September 1 and was originally planned to be removed after 30 days but would now remain indefinitely. Additional documentation requirements would also remain on all but one category of clothing. It was announced US Customs would remove single entry bonding requirements on suits but would continue them for skirts, nightwear, underwear and dresses. The US officials also announced they would 'take appropriate action based on the joint team findings on any goods that transshipping companies ship or have shipped'. The Trade Department said it would be continuing with vigorous enforcement actions against illegal transshippers. Hong Kong has objected to unilateral imposition of these requirements, pointing out they were applied to the relevant products only from Hong Kong and were therefore discriminatory. The new documentation rules cover textiles and clothing worth about $3.5 billion, or 9.6 per cent of the territory's total textiles and apparel exports. The government has said the moves could put up to 4,000 jobs under threat.